Pierson went to the vet last week for his annual checkup and for one of his vaccines. He is terrified of the vet, so I wanted to try to make his visit more comfortable this time around. Last week, I talked about some of the things I was going to do. Today, I’m going to tell you whether or not they worked.
Firstly, I was unable to use the Thundershirt to help him because I couldn’t find it anywhere. I looked and looked and the only thing I could think of was that I donated it along with some dog seat belts to our local humane society. Secondly, I forgot that I had been given a K-10 calming product to sample. K-10 is a powder formula you put in your dog’s water. They have different kinds. They have the K-10 multivitamin, K-10 UT support, K-10 Omega-3, and K-10 Calming. So I put this stuff in my dogs’ water bowl for two days prior to Pierson’s vet visit.
Other than the two differences above, everything else I talked about last week was done. We visited the vet daily, I put some Travel Calm on him, and I took Maya with us. Did these things help? I think so.
Pierson was still a little nervous on his visit. But he eagerly ate up the treats that the staff handed him and he let them pet him. He seemed to do okay when we sat in the little room. Other than being agitated at the sounds of other dogs in the hall, he showed no signs of being nervous.
However, all that changed when the vet tried to approach him with a needle. She needed to draw blood to test for heartworms and he wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. Pierson did not snap or growl, but his fear was quite evident so we had him muzzled for just in case. And when he was held and the blood drawn, he both peed and pooped on himself. But amazingly, he did not struggle to get away. And he still didn’t growl or try to bite.
So while he did better on this visit, I don’t think there is a way to help him get over his fear of being stuck with a needle. That is not something you can desensitize a dog to. So for next year, I think we will just continue to make occasional fun visits to the vet. This way when the day comes again, he won’t be nervous except for the needle-sticking part.
I am also considering getting some of his vaccines at the feed store and administering them myself. Pierson lets me brush his teeth and cut his nails so I seriously doubt he would have any trouble with me sticking him with a needle. I think his problem is mostly with strangers getting so close to him. Being petted by strangers is one thing. Being handled by them is quite another.
So what do you think I can do to help Pierson next year?